IFA loses members and funds in pay controversy fallout
Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30
Up to 4,500 farmers have left the IFA over the organisation's pay controversy.
The farm body has also confirmed it has lost over €560,000 in levies paid on farm produce since becoming mired in the greatest crisis in its history.
In the continuing fallout from former general secretary of the IFA Pat Smith earning almost €1m over two years, the farm body revealed 528 farmers have definitely cancelled their membership. And a further 4,000 farmers have let their membership lapse, leaving the IFA with just over 75,500 fully paid up members.
Mr Smith resigned from the organisation after 25 years, while then president Eddie Downey stood down as the IFA became mired in acrimony.
The IFA confirmed income from levies has slumped by 12pc. The voluntary levy is based on farm sales of cattle, milk and grain through more than 200 co-ops, processors, marts and merchants and works out at 15c for every €100 in sales. Known as the European Involvement Fund (EIF) levies, the payments remain an important money earner for the farm lobby group - delivering €4.7m to the IFA coffers or a third of total income in 2015.
Currently, the levies are often provided to the IFA with scant details on their source.
The IFA has confirmed it will meet with all levy partners to discuss with them steps to strengthen governance and transparency in the organisation, look at ways to rebuild the collection rates and to seek auditor confirmation from the monies collected from farmers for the IFA.